Tom Marino won’t be nominated as drug czar

Emily Gray Brosious

May 3, 2017: 4:11 PM CT

Tom Marino won't be nominated as drug czarRep. Tom Marino (R-PA) (L) speaks during a news conference about the budget continuing resolution passed by the House near midnight with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (C) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) on September 23, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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White House officials say President Donald Trump is not appointing U.S. Rep. Tom Marino as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), U.S. News reports.

The Pennsylvania Republican was reportedly in the final stages of completing official paperwork for his nomination as ONDCP director, a position colloquially referred to as the drug czar, CBS news reported on April 11.

Marino, a former prosecutor now representing Pennsylvania’s rural 10th Congressional District, has faced negative press reports in recent weeks pertaining to his controversial past and has been harshly criticized by drug policy and criminal-justice reformers for “extremist” views.

The Drug Policy Alliance, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to progressive drug policy reform, was among a group of organizations calling to block Marino’s nomination for drug czar, warning that he is a “drug war extremist” who would roll back Obama-era policy reforms and “double down on the failed drug war.”

“Marino’s nomination seemed all but certain just a few weeks ago but a flurry of news stories on his extremist views, like turning hospitals into prisons, and using his power as prosecutor to help his friends, no doubt put pressure on the Administration to go in a different direction,” Bill Piper, senior director of the office of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, wrote in a Wednesday, May 3, news release.

The White House did not say why Marino was taken out of consideration for ONDCP director, according to U.S. News.

“With Marino knocked out of the running, President Trump has an opportunity to pick a better nominee for drug czar,” Piper said. He hopes the next drug czar treats drugs “as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue.”

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See also: What does the US drug czar actually do?

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